Robert Motherwell's position in American art history rests not only on his oeuvre as a painter, but also on his prodigious accomplishments as a public intellectual: he served as an important spokesperson for the group of New York artists around him and left behind an extensive body of writings. Among his many artworks was the 1958 series Iberia, born with the artist's first visit to Spain that year. Motherwell felt deeply the gloomy situation that prevailed in the country at that time. The grimness is registered as a black mood that threatens to obliterate everything. In this canvas, the surface darkness is relieved only by a very small opening at the lower left. Motherwell worked this surface extensively; the weight of its darkness is produced by the many brushstrokes that coalesce and separate and even suggest a kind of infernal chaos.


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